The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Leona Hill


December 15, 2018

WAKEFIELD, Mich. - Helmi Leona Hill, 90, died Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, at the Gogebic Medical Care Facility, Wakefield.

She was born in Wakefield Jan. 3, 1928, a daughter of Alfred and Sofia (Palomaki) Laakso. She attended Wakefield Township Schools, graduating in 1945.

On Dec. 3, 1949, she married her neighbor, Raymond L. Hill. After a brief honeymoon at a house in West Pike Location, they moved into the house Raymond built next door to his parents' residence and raised their family.

When her children were older, Leona attended Gogebic Community College for two years and Northland College for two years, graduating magna cum laude in 1967 with a degree in elementary education. She then taught at White Pine for 25 years.

She was active with the National Finnish American Festival, singing in the choir, and also directing the choir for some years. She was a member of the Knights and Ladies of Kaleva, the Delta Kappa Gamma teaching sorority and the Wakefield Area Artists League.

A member of All Saints Lutheran Church, she was a member of the choir, active with the women of the church and in Christian education.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Raymond, on April 26, 2010. Also preceding her were her parents, and father- and mothers-in-law, William, Senia (Hantula) and Viano (Syrjala) Hill; siblings Helen and Nels (Ione) Laakso, Aileen (Donald) Ethier, Sylvia, in infancy, and David (Alicemae) Laakso; brothers- and sisters-in-law Melba (Lewellyn) Bramer, William (Carmela) Hill, and Jack (Carol) Margaret, Richard Hill and Peter (Martha) Hill.

She is survived by her children and their families, Andrew (Susan) Hill, Magdalene, Anna, Wakefield; and Joseph (Nikki) Hill, Sapulpa, Okla .; Fia (Howell Murray), and Liisa and David Murray, all of New York; and Leslie and son, Aleksander "Sasha" Hill, Sturgeon Bay, Wis. She is further survived by sisters-in-law Carol Hill, Alicemae Laakso and Martha Hill; great-grandchildren Evelyn, Lily and Patrick Hokans, Wakefield, and Elliott and Gage Hill and Nicholas Rzasa, Sapulpa; as well as nieces and nephews; beloved cousins, including those in Finland; and much-loved neighbors and friends.

Visitation will be held Wednesday at All Saints Lutheran Church, Wakefield, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The funeral service will begin at 11, with the Rev. Bill Jacobson officiating. A meal and time of fellowship will follow in the church hall.

Spring burial will be in Lakeside Cemetery, Wakefield.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield. Condolences may be expressed online at

The family thanks all those who cared for Leona during her final years, but most especially the Gogebic Medical Care Facility, whose staff treated her with such kindness and affection.


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